What People Say About Calwell High


Comments from our 2016 Yr 10 graduates:

‘Friendships weren’t only formed with students, but also the teachers. The teachers guided us from day one, they welcomed us and helped us transition into this new place. The teachers here are unlike any others.’

‘At Calwell the teachers are your friends. They speak to us like normal people and understand our problems. They always are open and willing to helping all. They make sure everyone feels equal and welcomed, which in our case moving here, was important. Teachers are approachable and have great advice and great stories, the staff are friendly and kind and the students get along well.’

Farewell memories:

‘I have Calwell to thank for my very positive end to high school. I always thought I'd be majorly eager to get high school over and done with, repress it, leave it all behind and transition into college but at Calwell, I am so sad to leave behind this wonderful community.’

‘We will always cherish our time at Calwell High, leaving such a school is going to be hard and emotional. We will always remember our short, yet wonderful experiences here.’

Newly enrolled students:

‘The amount of support we got from all teachers and staff coming to a new school, was amazing. Always making sure that we’re settling in okay and that were feeling comfortable. The endless support around the school has made the transition to Calwell, enjoyable.’

‘Transitioning from any school would be hard right? Not at Calwell. Even though no matter what, the first day is always the scariest. The amount of support from everyone around you makes the move so much more relaxing. Calwell High is a community that thrives on newbies like ourselves.’


"I would like to say a big thank you to all the teachers and staff at Calwell High, Terry has just blossomed there. I wasn't sure how he would cope with high school as he only learnt to read, thru the U Can read program at UC in year 6.  The support and encouragement he has received has been fantastic. My best wishes to everyone, may you all have a Merry Christmas and a  Happy and safe new year. Keep up the good work."

Susan Ogborne - Parent of Calwell High Student

In the News

Congratulations to Principal Bruce McCourt!

Our Principal Bruce Court was awarded as Outstanding School Leader of the Year at the 2015 ACT Education Directorate Excellence Awards. Mr Mark Evans and Ms Renee Newton were also finalists in the Beginning Teacher and Teacher of the Year categories. We are so proud and fortunate to have such accomplished and committed staff.

Joy Burch MLA, Bruce McCourt, Diane Joseph

Joy Burch MLA, Bruce McCourt, Diane Joseph at the ACT ETD Excellence Awrds

ACT ETD Excellence Awards Group Photo

Canberra gets ready to pump up the jam during dance week

Joseph Walker, April 29, 2015 - 11:45PM

Ausdance ACT launched its 2015 Dance Week festivities at Westside Acton Park on Wednesday, coinciding with International Dance Day.

In attendance were Calwell High School student Jacob Brown and Riggs Whaling, a dancer at Bom Funk studio and founder of J4 Crew.

Jacob was looking forward to doing something outside of his comfort zone during Dance Week, while Mr Whaling said dancing was his love and helped him feel happy and relaxed. "I couldn't picture a day without dance," he said.

Canberra high school introduces lifesaving competition for students

Henry Belot, The Canberra Times, February 20, 2014

Students using lifesaving equipment on Aquatics Day


Calwell High School has become the first school in the ACT to provide lifesaving events at their swimming carnival in a bid to increase water safety.

On Friday afternoon, students at the school practiced rope throw rescues, towing manikins and lifeguard tubes as well as swimming with fins.

Royal Life Saving ACT director Cherry O'Connor said the initiative was an important way to counter the decreasing number of students enrolling in school swimming.

Joy Terry, a physical education teacher at Calwell High School, said the program boosted the confidence of students while also encouraging safe practices.

Teachers brush up on their dance skills from national curriculum at Ausdance ACT Move Up workshops

Clare Colley, The Canberra Times, January 20, 2015

Caldwell High School dance teacher Kym Degenhart kick starts her teaching year with the Ausdance ACT's Move Up workshop


For a specialist dance teacher, cutting a rug in front of a packed classroom of school students and showing them the moves is all in a day's work and may even be fun.

The new national curriculum cements the subject's place as part of the arts, meaning it needs to be taught to all students from primary school.

Ausdance ACT's Move Up program aims to help primary and secondary teachers develop the confidence, knowledge and skills to teach the subject, dance education officer Danielle White said, beginning with summer workshops this week.

More than 50 teachers from public and private ACT schools took the time out of their holidays for the workshops in contemporary dance, jazz, funk and hip-hop on Monday and Tuesday with professional dancers.

For specialised dance teachers such as Calwell High School's Kym Degenhart the workshops were a chance to pick up new ideas, inspiration and choreography to keep up with the ever-changing dance world.

She said Calwell high had the biggest dance program of all ACT public schools with three dance teachers, a specialised boys' class, and more students were taking up the subject.

"It's something Calwell is known for and we really pride ourselves on our dance program," she said.

Ms Degenhart said there was sometimes still a stigma attached to dance from other faculties or schools that did not value it as highly, but as evidence showing its benefits stacked up it was becoming more accepted.

"[The student] may have to explain how to do a step so they are using their English skills or they may have to count things out in steps so they're using their maths skills," she said.

"It really does tap into a lot more than just the creative subject of dance."

Bell Shakespeare Schools Festival's Macbeth feast

Karen Hardy, The Canberra Times, October 31, 2014

High school students rehearsing for the Bell Shakespeare Schools Festival at Calwell High School


Students from Calwell High School participated in this prestigious theatre program in partnership with Wanniassa School; including Emily Bell who is pictured in the Canberra Times feature and Jacob Brown who stage managed the live show at the Canberra Theatre Centre. The Calwell Performing Arts Centre was utilised for rehearsals over the weeks before the performance, as shown in the photographs featured in The Canberra Times.

Ausdance encourages creative way of learning

Sarah Connor, The Canberra Times, September 10 2014

Dancers from Calwell High School perform at the launch of the Ausdance ACT Youth Dance Festival


Hundreds of Canberra high school students are preparing to unleash their creativity on stage at the Ausdance ACT Youth Dance Festival next week.

About 1200 students will take part in the 30th non-competitive festival, which will include 55 dance groups from 36 ACT high schools under the theme 'stories'.

One of the many high schools involved is Calwell High, which has produced two routines and included students from years 7 to 10 for the dance festival.

Year 10 student Tina Ha enjoyed having the opportunity to dance with friends and performing in front of crowds.

"I like to dance because it's my stress release and it's really fun to do because I'm dancing and socialising with my friends," she said.

Dance Fest allows students of all capabilities to use the program as a creative outlet.

Ausdance ACT with support from the ACT government will produce the 'Move Up' program for professional learning for teachers in high schools and colleges throughout the region.

Ausdance ACT director Neil Roach said the summer program would allow for professional dancers from all over the country to help instruct high school teachers and through them their students.

Roach believed the introduction of dance into the ACT school curriculum would allow students to release their creativity and help with their learning.

"I think we're really learning how important simple arts activities like dance are to peoples' lives and how it can help their learning right across the board in so many different areas because creativity can't be pigeonholed in one little box," he said.

The Move Up program will help complement future dance fests. The three-day dance festival will go from September 17-19 at the Canberra Theatre.

Students burst into limelight in spectacular ways

Scott Batum, The Canberra Times, August 30, 2013

Calwell High School students rehearsing their dance piece at Limelight 2013

Calwell High School choreography class students were featured in this article about Step Into The Limelight. Several images of the students rehearsing their dance piece during the dress rehearsal.